Socio-economic factors underlying the retention of the girl-child in primary schools in Kajiado county
The Study explored the socio-economic factors underlying the retention of the girl-child in primary schools in Kajiado County. It targeted class eight girls of ages 18 years or below. The study had four objectives: to find out the institutional factors whether gender roles, norms and laws which influence the retention of the girl-child in primary schools in Kajiado County; to investigate whether socio-economic characteristics; education, income, wealth, religion of parents/ guardians, contribute to retention of the girl-child in primary schools in Kajiado County; to examine the extent to which household characteristics, family size and structure influence the retention of the girl-child in the County of Kajiado and to examine whether school characteristics contribute to the retention of the girl-child in Kajiado County. The literature reviewed focused on social institutions, household and demographic characteristics for example, the relationship between parental / guardian income, wealth, education and religion and their contribution to the retention of the girl-child. In addition school characteristics; infrastructure, like availability of classrooms, toilets and teachers was also reviewed in the literature. The study employed the feminist theory and women’s empowerment approach. A case study research design was used and the unit of analysis was households. Purposive sampling was employed and 100 households sampled because they had class eight girls at the time of study. Both open ended and structured questions were used in the questionnaire for purposes of data collection. In addition a key informant guide was used to interview key informants who were, teachers, community leaders, County education officers and religious leaders. The study site was Kajiado County. The data collected was then cleaned, coded, reviewed, summarized and processed. Both qualitative and quantitative data was collected. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to analyze data collected. Frequency tables, mean, standard deviation, pie charts, bar graphs and chi-square tests were also used in data analysis. The study findings revealed that most of the girls retained in class eight, 80 girls out of 100 interviewed were aged 14 -16 years. There was a significance importance of religion as a social capital. Chi-square tests done to establish the significance of parental/guardian education and retention of girls revealed that the mothers’ education was specifically important. However parental support and fathers’ education and occupation did not reveal a correlation as variables in the study. The study recommends a girl friendly curriculum and pedagogy and also establishment of more boarding schools for girls in the County of Kajiado in order to enhance their retention in schools due to the favourable and conducive learning environment in boarding schools. Mobile schools as those established in Samburu County need to be established to enhance retention of girls in schools at the same time taking into consideration their roles as demanded by the households. Adult education targeting mothers was also recommended due to the significant correlation between mothers’ education and retention of the girl child revealed by the study. Community sensitization on the need to actively participate in school activities was also recommended. In addition members of the Community should be sensitized to form social networks and groups in order to improve their social capital and also use the groups to improve their economic status through access to various funds like Women Enterprise Fund (WEF), Youth Enterprise and Development Fund (YEDF) and the newly launched Uwezo Fund, in addition to other finances available from various financial institutions. In addition the Government procurement procedures put in place to empower women, youth and persons with disabilities can also be enhanced through formation of such groups. These will then improve the socio-economic status of households hence improving retention of the girlchild. The study focused on Kajiado County and specifically Kajiado North Constituency. Its close vicinity to the capital city of Nairobi makes it a region inhabited by diverse ethnic groups and not necessarily the pastoralist community. The recommendation therefore, is for similar research on other pastoral communities in order to come up with a wider perspective of policy implication.